“The Masque of the Red Death”: Figurative Language and Symbolism

Exclusively available on PapersOwl
Updated: Apr 30, 2024
Cite this
Date added
Pages:  2
Order Original Essay

How it works

Edgar Allan Poe is undoubtedly one of the best authors of all time. He is specifically known for his creative writings, which are gothic and sad in terms of style. He utilizes the style elements of symbolism, point of view, and similes frequently. With these elements, he creates his own line of work, which is very different from most authors. Poe generally uses his real-life experiences to get the true effect of his feelings into the story. Studies of Poe’s work conclude that he is an author that was way before his time, and his use of style elements was creatively used in a way that no other author has approached.

Need a custom essay on the same topic?
Give us your paper requirements, choose a writer and we’ll deliver the highest-quality essay!
Order now

Figurative Language as a Tool in Poe’s Dark Narratives

Poe uses the style element of symbolism throughout most of his stories. This can be seen in “The Cask of Amontillado” as it states, “The man wore motley. He had on a tight-fitting parts-striped dress, and his head was surmounted by the conical cap and bells.” In the story, Fortunato is dressed as a fool, which is a symbolic representation of what he really is. In “The Raven,” it says, “Quoth the Raven, Nevermore.” This line is repeated in the story as this plays a role in its symbol. Nevertheless, the Raven is indeed a symbol of the narrator’s never-ending remembrance of the loss of his love, Lenore.

The story “The Masque of the Red Death” quotes, “Whose tall figure stood erect and motionless… gasped in unutterable horror at finding the grave-cerements and corpse-like mask which they handled with so violent a rudeness, untenanted by any tangible form.” This quote mentions the masked visitor and the reveler’s feelings toward the masked visitor. The masked visitor is a symbol of death, and it shows that no one can escape death. However, Poe did not use just symbolism to create his unique style.

Poe utilizes point of view, another style element, to develop his style by letting the reader either get inside the mind of a character to understand where they’re coming from or to know the feelings of everyone. An example from “The Masque of the Red Death” is, “When his dominions were half depopulated, he summoned to his presence a thousand hale and light-hearted friends…” The third-person point of view creates the tone of the party and allows the reader to understand how everyone feels. In addition to symbolism and point of view, Poe also used other style elements as well.

Poe uses irony to create his style by sometimes adding humor or creating a deeper meaning. Humor is found in “The Masque of the Red Death” as it states, “This was an extensive and magnificent structure… A strong lofty wall girdled it in. This wall had gates of iron.” This quote is a description of the wall around the castellated abbey to make sure nothing can get in or out. Prince Prospero, thinking he’d escaped death (along with his 1,000 guests), had actually trapped themselves in with the Red Death. This is an example of situational irony.

Poe was a very skilled author who did not get the recognition he deserved while he was alive. He used so many different style elements, as studies have only touched on a few. Poe always had the same sad feeling in all of his stories, and not one of them was different. He always stuck to his style.


  1. Bloom, H. (1998). Edgar Allan Poe: Comprehensive Research and Study Guide. Chelsea House Publishers.
  2. Fisher, M. (2002). The World of Edgar Allan Poe: The Dark Romanticism and Gothic Style. University of Pennsylvania Press.
  3. Gargano, J. W. (1967). ‘The Question of Poe’s Narrators’, in Critical Essays on Edgar Allan Poe, pp. 57-64. Boston: G. K. Hall & Co.
  4. Levine, R. (2001). The Power of Blackness: Poe, Melville, and Hawthorne. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press.
The deadline is too short to read someone else's essay
Hire a verified expert to write you a 100% Plagiarism-Free paper

Cite this page

“The Masque of the Red Death”: Figurative Language and Symbolism. (2023, Aug 17). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/the-masque-of-the-red-death-figurative-language-and-symbolism/